ABSENT: Writer Missing …


Missed me? I’ve missed you.

What happened, you ask?

In between pages, life happened.

Joined pain management group.

Snow melted.

Brother in hospital.

Dug up rose bushes.

Blazing sun arrived.

My sister and I celebrated 96th birthday of our mother’s best friend.

Brother sent to rehab.

Began editing final draft of Midnight Redemption.

Faced first cataract surgery.

Truck hit 12 vehicles at red light, car in shop, no injuries.

Brother placed in Hospice.

Need to research.

Editing slow.

Brother buried in Lampasas, Texas under a tree with weeping limbs.

Need to work, need to move.

Need to write.
























Amazing how life hits you in the face, and then you take off for a day or so. When you feel back, it’s a welcome relief.

Stepping out this morning into the freshly fallen snow, I carefully made my way to the curb pushing my dark blue trash container. As I stepped back, I looked up at all around me. Darkness, but well lit by the outside lights, I inhaled and found a newness even in my breath.


The cold dry air consumed my lungs and sent a message to my heart. It’s a new day, a new beginning. Life is all about. “The moment’s now. Don’t miss it.”

It is amazing how you can get into a frump, depression, whatever you want to admit to, and then how when you come out of the fog, that sweetness of life. That beauty of being. And you pick up your life in a new and beautiful way. And you continue.

I want to wish all my readers a good and beautiful day.

And may you always remember that the moment is now.


Dabbling in Online Dating?

It occurred to me that there might be some interest in what I’ve learned while dating online.


Angst is the key word. There is the ebb and flow of strangers seeking companionship with one another. How can you be sure that it’s legit?

Plus, having had several less than desirable experiences, I have developed a list of 10 thought provoking rules.

Unwritten Rules for Men Seeking Intelligent Women

  1. Do not send me a picture of how you looked 20 years ago.
  2. Do not send me a picture of your dog. I’m not looking for a pet.
  3. Do not send me a picture of your couch.
  4. Do not send me a picture of your bare chest.
  5. Do not forget to mention the fact you have a wife.
  6. Do not act like you’ve known me forever when you see me.
  7. Do not grab my hands across the table after five minutes. It’s embarrassing.
  8. If you let me pick up the check, please don’t try to hug or kiss me goodbye.
  9. Do not put … “I’ll tell you later” on all the profile questions. For sure, later will never come.
  10. Don’t advertise yourself as a liberal and then upon meeting me, and offering me a seriously conservative diatribe, explain that you’re a liberal conservative.


Do any of you have any other suggestions about dating online? If so, please send me a message and I’ll add it. Would love to hear from you! Share your stories!



Day 5 Jet Lag

Arrival is easy. Jet lag never bothers me when I arrive in another country. Coming back takes a while. I thought I’d give myself four days. But no. I am in Day 5. Having drinks with friends last night, a veteran traveler said it took her four or sometimes five weeks to get over jet lag.

What brought my jet lag  to my attention was someone I ran into yesterday who asked, “Do you realize you texted me at 2 a.m.?”

I simply blinked. I wasn’t sure whose 2 a.m. are we talking about. I’ve been a bit loopy. But it was worth it!

To witness my daughter as she breathed in the amazing three rondovals  was amazing. The name comes from the way the mountains  resemble the traditional round hut. I’d wanted to get her there to see the beauty of the country where she was born. The three oldest were there when they were young children. My baby, now 37, was born in the Netherlands and is the only child yet to experience Africa. Hopefully one day.

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We had to skip a great deal, of course, but we did make it to Malamulele where I volunteered from 2000 to 2012. Seeing old friends was a bit like speed dating because we had only 10 days to actually see the entire country. (Three days were spent traveling back and forth between continents. (I originally said 14 — but it was only 13.) The trip there was 19 hours, the trip home was 29 hours. Now that’s another story!







I am where?

It’s possible I am sleeping. I have been awake a few times since I arrived home from a worldwind trip with my daughter Anne-Marie Braga to her home country South Africa. Yep, she was born there 40 years ago and had never been back since her father had been transferred away shortly after her birth. We took our family and moved on.

As a birthday wish, I took her back to South Africa. 14 days. It was all she had. We knew it would be a fast trip. We knew that from the start. But by golly, we would see as much as possible.

I will tell you more in depth in the next blog, but I had to get at least this much out to you. The second blog will tell you more. Did I just repeat myself? Jet lag is real and thriving in Littleton, Colorado. The trip home was 29 hours. Ask either Anne-Marie or me?

Can you tell this is a selfie? We did our best to document every step of the way. This is my dear friend, who prefers to remain anonymous? We traveled the whole of South Africa and of course that included my favorite Malamulele. Many fun experiences and renewal of old friends.

Read for the fun adventures we had and more pictures over the next few weeks.



Wednesday I interrogated fourth graders at a local elementary school to see what they knew about writing.

I’d been asked by the fourth grade teacher  to tell them why I became a writer and what it’s like to be a writer. I blamed Lois Lane.


They hadn’t a clue who Lois Lane was. I pulled an image from my thumb drive.


Lois Lane was the only female around who looked like she was having an adventure in her life!  I decided to be a newspaper reporter like Lois, Superman’s girlfriend, who worked at The Daily Planet.

I encouraged the students to  do what I did –pay attention in English class and learn where to put commas and periods and apostrophes.

Of course, I couldn’t ignore Nancy Drew. I saw adorable faces smiling back at me, almost swooning, when I said her name. Oh, yes, they knew about Nancy Drew.

I explained I had freelanced for years while rearing five children. Leaving home was not an option in those days, especially since we moved a great deal with my husband’s work.

I asked the class if they had ever seen a typewriter. Yes, they had. (Probably in a museum somewhere.)   It felt like I was in an episode of “Twilight Zone” as I explained how I rolled paper into the typewriter and typed and retyped to correct errors, then sent out my unsolicited articles to editors by mailing my work in envelopes sporting real stamps from the post office.

Because I’ve embraced this new technology, I stood amazed at the words coming out of my mouth. At how much easier life is now, but also a twinge of sadness that these sweet children had missed so very much. Ah, the typewriter.

Relating about the time-lapse, waiting for editors to write back, which would take anywhere from weeks to months, I verbally rejoiced how quick I could now simply email an editor  a copy of my book proposal.

I asked the class to name the continents. No problem at all. All seven of them popped out of their mouths. Then I asked the students to guess which continents I had been published on.  North America, Australia and South Africa.

Then we spent time talking about dreaming and imagination, two of my favorite topics.

What  fun it was to watch ideas swell in their heads, as they edited a sentence. You adults better get to writing your books, because these kids will be marketing theirs in about 10 years! Hurry!


Midnight in Malamulele won 2nd place in the Fiction/Mystery/Detective category in last night’s 21st Annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association 2015 EVVY Book awards.


It may have felt better to win 1st. You’d have to ask my friend, Susan Paturzo, who writes as Merit Clark. After our announcements, we both stood up front hugging and laughing and having pictures taken. It was a moment to remember. We may have been a spectacle, but the audience didn’t seem to mind.


If it weren’t for the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers groups, it would have been impossible to have written this book.  FYI, that’s where Susan and I became acquainted and chatted frequently about Killing Streak, her book, and of course Midnight in Malamulele.

Both of us are working like crazy on our second books. We have lofty goals and the wonderful thing that I loved about it was that before that final night, we both said as long as one of us gets a win, it was like both of us winning. Who knew we would both win. What fun!

My Denver family came and were so supportive!

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Left to right: Two daughters, Stacy Baugh and Anne-Marie Braga. Me. Ariana Trujillo, my niece, and her mom Benjie Blase, my dear sweet sister!

(When I saw this picture, I wondered when did I get so short! But honestly, they all had heels on!)

Oh, what a night!